Durham Bulls Excellent Season Bodes Well for Rays Future

By David Hill
MIAMI, FL - JULY 09: Brent Honeywell
MIAMI, FL - JULY 09: Brent Honeywell /

The Durham Bulls appear destined to make the postseason in the International League. That experience will help the Tampa Bay Rays in the long run.

As of last night, the Durham Bulls had a 72-46 record, holding a 14.5 game lead over the Gwinnett Braves in the South Division of the International League. With just a few weeks left in the season, it seems inevitable that the Tampa Bay Rays AAA affiliate will be making the postseason, hopefully playing deep into September.

Given the talent in Durham, that is not a surprise. The Bulls boast a pitching staff that is easily the best in AAA, and would be the envy of any major league franchise. With prospects like Brent Honeywell, Jose De Leon, and Chih-Wei Hu on the pitching staff, and Willy Adames and Jake Bauers in the lineup, the Rays future is on display in Durham.

That success in the minors could have an impact on the major league level as well. With the Rays already in Wild Card contention this season, another stretch of contention may be upcoming. Having players on the roster with playoff experience is always helpful for a team looking to get over the hump and enter the postseason.

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Although these players may not have major league postseason experience, that expectation of winning together in the minors can carry over. The Royals had the same tactic with their top prospects at the beginning of the decade, culminating in consecutive World Series appearances. the Rays are certainly hoping to replicate that feat, and come away with a title themselves.

A winning atmosphere, regardless of where it is, can permeate a locker room. That is why teams look for players from winning organizations in free agency – if everything else is equal, that experience in a winning locker room makes a big difference. Having been a part of a pennant chase, and being there before, has a great deal of value.

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The Tampa Bay Rays prospects are going to get a taste of the postseason with the Durham Bulls. Hopefully, they can carry those winning ways over to the majors.